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Judge economic success by the common good, Pope says

Catholic World News - April 30, 2010

The worldwide economic crisis illustrates "the urgency of strengthening the governance procedures for the global economy," Pope Benedict XVI said on April 30. The Pontiff quickly added, however, that any new effort at economic regulation should pay "due respect to the principle of subsidiarity."

In his address to the 16th assembly of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, which met this week to discuss the implications of the economic crisis, the Pope observed: "The worldwide financial breakdown has demonstrated the fragility of the present economic system and the institutions linked to it."

Any real solution to the problem, the Pope continued, must recognize the inherent weakness of an economic system based on "a spiral of production and consumption in view of narrowly-defined human needs." Leaders should concentrate not on temporary measures to shore up that system but on reforms intended to build "an authentically just and humane society," he said.

The proper measure of an economic system is the common good, the Pontiff said. He said that economic and political leaders should strive to create a system marked by both subsidiarity and solidarity, combining freedom and entrepreneurship with a concern for those in need. The Pope added that "the common good embraces responsibility towards future generations; intergenerational solidarity must henceforth be recognized as a basic ethical criterion for judging any social system."

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